CITGO-Venezuela Heating Oil Program Launched in Boston


BOSTON -- The Chairman, President and CEO of CITGO Petroleum Corporation, Alejandro Granado, Citizens Energy Chairman Joseph P. Kennedy II and the Ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Bernardo Alvarez, announced today the beginning of the 2007-2008 CITGO-Venezuela Heating Oil Program aboard a CITGO tanker carrying fuel that will benefit thousands of Massachusetts residents this winter. This is the third consecutive year the program has operated in the city.


The program, carried out in partnership by CITGO and Citizens Energy Corporation and made possible by the generosity of CITGO and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, will provide millions of gallons of heating oil to thousands of families in need throughout 23 states, including Massachusetts.


Massachusetts is the program’s second largest state in terms of beneficiaries. The program will deliver approximately 8.5 million gallons of heating oil to more than 33,000 households and around 60 homeless shelters. Local oil dealers will deliver 100 gallons of fuel at no cost to eligible families throughout the state.


            CITGO and Citizens Energy Corporation, a Boston-based non-profit, will also provide heating fuel assistance directly to more than 200 Native American communities in the states of Maine, New York, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Nebraska, Arizona, Oregon, Washington and Alaska.


            “At CITGO, we have the privilege to be involved in projects that we sponsor to help others and unite us in solidarity,” said CITGO Chairman, President and CEO Alejandro Granado. “This is a people-to-people program that comes from the heart of Venezuela to the homes of American families who just can’t pay their energy bills.”


            CITGO’s commitment was developed two years ago in the aftermath of Hurricanes Rita and Katrina, when it stepped forward to help communities ravaged by the storms. At the same time, Citizens Energy began hearing from more families struggling to keep pace with rising energy costs, especially during the winter when temperatures dropped and the need for heating fuels increased.


            “We approach every major oil company and every OPEC nation each year to ask that a small slice of their record profits go to help the poor,” said Citizens Energy Chairman, Joseph P. Kennedy II. “Only one oil company – CITGO – and only one nation – Venezuela – stepped up to the plate to offer a helping hand.”


            Citizens Energy, formed by Kennedy during the oil price shocks of the late 1970s, has provided discounted heating oil to the poor and the elderly for almost 30 years. The non-profit energy company has a relationship with Venezuela going back to its earliest years.


Venezuelan Ambassador Bernardo Alvarez, discussing the program, pointed out: “The vision of social responsibility in the energy policy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has allowed us to assure that our profits benefit the neediest people in our country.  To further pursue this aim, we have extended that capacity to helping the peoples of the Americas.  We have had a binding historic relationship with the United States of America. We have a fraternal relationship with the American people and a business relationship as well.  The human aspects of these relationships will make it possible for our government to continue helping the neediest Americans during the cold winter months.”


            Families interested in receiving the discounted heating oil can call Citizens Energy Corporation at 1-877-JOE-4-OIL (1-877-564-4645) or apply online at . Once approved, the household receives an authorization letter and calls its heating oil dealer to arrange a delivery of up to 100 gallons of heating oil.


            In addition to Massachusetts, the program is operating in Maine, Rhode Island, Vermont, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Virginia, the District of Columbia, Alaska, Delaware, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, Greater Philadelphia and Greater Pittsburgh.


CITGO, in alignment with its ultimate shareholder, PDVSA, the national oil company of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, is committed to the development of social programs such as this aimed at helping the most vulnerable in the communities it serves.  


CITGO, based in Houston, is a refiner, transporter and marketer of transportation fuels, lubricants, petrochemicals, refined waxes, asphalt and other industrial products.  The company is owned by PDV America, Inc., an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A., the national oil company of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.


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